Confessions of a Mixologist: Big Game Cocktail Battle

I Got a Tiger by the Tail vs. Shear Terror

A Brief Guide to Drinking Well in the Midst of Ambivalence

(skip to recipes)

The Big Game is right around the corner, but this mixologist must confess that we don’t have a dog... er Bear, in this fight. On the other hand, this post season has been full of surprises, upsets and some of the most exciting football ever played. That makes it difficult not to feel some sense of anticipation, even in the absence of a favored team.

Obviously, football fans would prefer to watch their home team play but millions will watch and decide who to root for based on good, bad or arbitrary reasons. If you are having trouble deciding who to back, we have built a couple of dueling cocktails for the occasion. Choose a cocktail and you’ve chosen your team, simple as that (or is it?). This mixologist confesses to being ambivalent about the outcome, but there are benefits to indecision. So, if you just can’t decide even after perusing these recipes and considering all the angles, follow our lead; stay neutral, enjoy the snacks, be amazed by the superhuman athleticism, and try both cocktails.

If you are really unwilling to take a stand, but love to win, these cocktails were born with split personalities1, allowing you to switch your allegiance without switching your cocktail. So, when this game ends in a fashion befitting such a wild season, with some whacky last-minute comeback, you can confidently claim to have been with the victors all along2.

I Got a Tiger by the Tail, may sound like a drink for Rams fans but catching a tiger by the tail isn’t easy. And when you’ve done it, then what? The question is: Once your meaty hands have clamped down on that tail can you tame the tiger or is it just the beginning of your real troubles? As Buck Owens sang on his hit with the Buckaroos, I Got a Tiger by the Tail3 - “Well, I thought the day I met you, you were meek as a lamb... And it looks like I've got a tiger by the tail.” Mistaking a ram for a lamb is no less problematic than mistaking a tiger for a lamb, so which is it?  Is it a Bengals drink or a Rams drink? Before you decide, check out Shear Terror.

At first glance Shear Terror could go either way too. The ingredients look like a Southern California Daisy4, to be sure, not to mention that we have topped it with a soft fluffy “wool” of egg white5 and ram horns. So, is it a Rams drink? Is L.A. inducing fear or is it the Rams who should be experiencing Shear Terror? Have the Bengals freed their tail and wrangled the Rams, clippers in hand (paw)? Are the drink’s woolen cap and horns a trophy for the tiger? A symbol of stolen mojo? Surely a freshly shorn Ram, surprisingly svelte in its nakedness, is a far less intimidating foe.

Our insatiable music obsession demands equity, and we confess we almost called this cocktail the Wooly Bully6 after the Sam the Sham and the Pharoah’s classic. This enigmatic song has some layered complexity, just like our cocktails, hidden within its simple lyrics7. What is this creature with two big horns and a wooly chin? A ram? What about the strange similarity of the shouted lyrics to “Matty” Stafford yelling a warning to his offensive line: “Watch it now, watch it, here he comes! You got it, you got it!” Coincidence? Which side of the 50-yard line does this drink land on after all? Only you can say.

Well, that’s our tale Bin-landia, take it for what it’s worth. We have placed the ball in the red zone for you but whose end zone are you staring at?

Enjoy the game, choose a side or revel in ambivalence, but whatever you do, drink well!



I Got a Tiger By The Tail



  1. Add Bourbon, Cointreau, Allspice Dram, lemon juice, and bitters to an ice filled shaker, shake until well-chilled.
  2. Strain into an ice filled old fashioned glass.
  3. Garnish with orange twist


Shear Terror



  1. Add Tequila, Falernum, Cointreau, lime juice, orange juice, egg white and salt to an empty shaker. Dry shake for 30 seconds.
  2. Add ice to shaker, shake until well chilled, strain into a cocktail glass.
  3. Garnish with Bitters. Drag a toothpick through the Bitters to create ram horns, if desired.


  1. Is that a reflection of their parentage? Guess we better not cancel our next Zoom therapy session. Gotta keep all these alter egos in check!
  2. “No, man! You misheard me. I took the Bengals! Why would I be drinking this cocktail if I bet on the Rams? Now pay up!” says the slightly tipsy and very unscrupulous gambler.
  3. A prime example of the Bakersfield sound (California’s answer to Nashville), recorded at Capitol Studios in Hollywood. Does this make it a Rams’ drink?
  4. As opposed to the Tiger’s Bourbon base and Cincinnati’s proximity to Louisville. Confused yet?
  5. Use raw egg white at your own risk, opt for pasteurized egg or simply omit the “wool”.
  6. Like I Got a Tiger by the Tail, Wooly Bully was recorded in 1964 and became a hit in ‘65. Kids, if you can believe it, the Big Game didn’t even exist until 1967. In this case the sessions took place at the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis. Tennessee's other music city. Certainly Bourbon country, so...
  7. When you separate the wheat from the lyrical chaff Wooly Bully is, unsurprisingly, about dancing and sex. Duh! Don't be so L7!


More Cocktail Recipes